The Perilous World of Shawn Gaston

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Making my way through Crash Course World History in random chunks. I’ll watch 3 or 4 videos in a day or two and then come back a month or so later. Just got up to this one, which just makes me happy, especially for the song at the end. 

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When a local government’s very existence depends on its citizens breaking the law — when fines from ordinance violations are written into city budgets for the upcoming year as a primary or even the main expected source of revenue — the relationship between the government and the governed is not one of public officials serving their constituents, but of preying off of them. When the primary mission of a police department isn’t to protect citizens but to extract money from them, and when the cops themselves don’t look like, live near or have much in common with the people from whom they’re extracting that money, you get cops who start to see the people they’re supposed to be serving not as citizens with rights, but as potential sources of revenue, as lawbreakers to be caught. The residents of these towns then see cops not as public servants drawn from their own community to enforce the laws and keep the peace, but as outsiders brought in to harass them, whose salaries are drawn from that harassment. The same goes for the judges and prosecutors, who also rarely live in the towns that employ them.
Why we need to fix St. Louis County (via wilwheaton)

(via mostlysignssomeportents)